Have you heard the court or an attorney use the term “trial” or “evidentiary hearing?” Do you understand those terms? They are very similar, and the process is usually the same for both a trial or evidentiary hearing. Understanding these processes can help you prepare for your court case.
What Is a Trial or Evidentiary hearing?
It is the process of calling witnesses and offering exhibits (documents, photographs, videos, audio records, etc.) to get a ruling from the court on specific issues.
In most cases, each side provides a witness list, proposed exhibits, and a pre-trial brief of memorandum prior to the process. This is done so that each side can prepare their case for the trial or evidentiary hearing process. Now, let’s cover how you should conduct yourself during a trial or evidentiary hearing.
How to Behave During Trials or Evidentiary Hearings
If you’re in the midst of a trial or evidentiary hearing, you should consider behaving in the following manner:
- Listen to the question that is being asked.
- If you anticipate the question, please allow it to be asked fully and give just a second before responding to allow for objections.
- If you hear the word objection, STOP speaking and wait for the court to respond to the objection:
- If the judge says overruled, then you answer the question; or
- If the judge says sustained, you do not answer the question.
- Do not argue with whoever is asking you a question. You answer as specific as possible. Judges get upset if you argue with the person asking questions. If you can answer a question yes or no, do so because it moves the case along quickly. If you have to answer yes or no to something that hurts your case, it is the job of your attorney to address the issue on redirect.
- When you answer, try to look at the Judge to create a connection.
- Do not glare or make hand gestures toward the other party or their attorney.
- When you are on the witness stand, you are not asking questions; you are answering questions.
- If you do not understand, it is okay to ask for clarification.
- If the judge asks you something specific, answer only what has been asked. Do not try to tell your story. It is the job of the attorney to handle that through their questioning.
- If possible, review any pre-trial briefs or memorandums to understand the position being taken by each Party.
- If possible, review the exhibits in advance and be prepared for questions by your attorney regarding the exhibits. Exhibits are not automatically admitted into the record unless the attorneys agree in advance. If the exhibits are not admitted by agreement, then the moving attorney must take steps to verify the exhibits and formulate a basis for using the exhibits before it can be admitted.
- If possible, meet with your attorney in advance to discuss the trial or evidentiary hearing process.
At Roberts Stoffel Family Law Group, our team will help you find the best path forward in your trial or evidentiary hearing. Contact us online or via phone at (702) 766-5566 to schedule a consultation with our team.